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Slovakia back at the top of EU jobless list

SLOVAKIA has recorded the highest unemployment rate in the EU for the second month in a row.

The jobless rate in Slovakia was 10.7 percent in June, according to the latest Eurostat statistics. It was a drop of 0.1 percentage points from May and 2.7 points from June 2006, the TASR newswire wrote.

A large number of the jobless are the long-term unemployed - those who have problems that prevent them from finding a job - but this number is also on the decline, the Hospodárske Noviny daily wrote.

The gap between Slovakia and Poland, which usually topped the unemployment rate until recently, widened in June when Poland's jobless rate decreased by 0.3 points from May, to 10.2 percent.

The Slovak Centre of Labour, Social Affairs and the Family says Slovakia's position in the Eurostat statistics is only caused by a different methodology for calculating the unemployment rate. According to the centre's statistcs, the June unemployment rate was 8.3 percent.

"We record only registered job-seekers at individual job offices. These register on a volunteer basis," said centre spokesperson Danica Lehotská.

On the other hand, the recent influx of large foreign investors has exhausted the local labour market, the Sme daily wrote. Large companies in Slovakia that benefit from state investment incentives are starting to lure people from abroad to work in Slovakia, meaning the government is also subsidising jobs for foreigners, the daily wrote.

The Labour Ministry reports about 4,500 foreigners working in Slovakia, of which less than 1,200 are from EU countries. For example, Samsung in Galanta employs a total of 4,660 foreigners, around 250 of whom are from Romania.

Last year, one position in the factory cost the state Sk250,000 (€7,500).

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